Is there a link between reincarnation and hell?

Discussion in 'Eastern Religions and Philosophies' started by Limbo, Jan 6, 2007.

  1. Limbo

    Limbo New Member

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    It's beginning to look to me like the concept of 'hell' may be based on the 'experiences' of the process of reincarnation. The burning away of the ego, the pain of the loss of Self when a soul struggles to hold onto it.

    Avoiding the reincarnation process by merging with the transcendent is the equivalent of 'paradise' or whatever symbol of the transcendent one's belief system uses.

    Having a symbol of the ineffable trancendent to greet one after death and guide one to 'paradise' strikes me as the ultimate purpose of a religious symbol.
     
  2. chakraman

    chakraman God save us from religion

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    i think what i have felt to be true about what happens following death to be similar. i dont see the traditional concept of hell as making much sense. for me the idea of purgatory, in the mode of "purging" the material aspects of the earth existence, feels more right. this then would happen to all, and the length of "time" spent purging would be dependant on the individuals identiification with the the material world and self. due to the mental, emotional and physical aspects of the earth existence and the pains and scars held there in, whilst overcoming these earthly bonds the pain caused to others and oneself would be felt and overcome before entering the spirit realm, which would be accessible to all. of course if there was reincarnation this would follow on from the previous, at least in my thinking anyway which is obviously speculative. like birth then death would also be painful. or death could be percieved as being born into the spirit. unless of course you are an avatar or have become "enlightened" during your earthly existence and hence "have entered the house of death whilst still alive" which is a concept krishnamurti spoke of and entails i believe the death of self on the material plane and the true living in the moment so many speak of. as for symbol i would have thought identification with such would be another "thing" to die to. interesting subjects, regards limbo, jase........
     
  3. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    I have also encountered teachings, elaborating on what's already been said here, which support the idea that once we cross over, things often become exceeding unpleasant for all of us ... at least at first. This is because our emotional body rearranges itself, in order to prolong its own life - which exists independently from its owner. The result for us is that we are essentially imprisoned within an onion-like cage (layer w/in layer w/in layer), and we can only perceive others in the bardo (kamaloka, purgatory, etc.) through the densest or coarsest layer of matter.

    Depending on the strength of our vices, we may spend anywhere from a few days to a few *decades* working through - or learning not to identify with - the very real, hellish conditions which we have created for ourselves, both individually and collectively.

    So what we see of our fellow dead is the very *worst* of their accumulated personalities, qualities and karma, and this gives us the mistaken idea that this is overwhelmingly characteristic of their being ... since our rearranged astral body allows for no other types of perceptions. This is truly a living hell, since if we are not familiar with the facts, we have no way to counteract this rearrangement. A simple effort of the will - the *refusal* to allow such a condition to come about, is all that is needed to prevent this process. It is precisely the same kind of resistance that must be exerted during life, if we wish to improve our lives ... rather than submit to the path of least resistance.

    The rearranged astral body is called in Sanskrit the Yatana, while that of the very wicked person is a Dhruvam, or "strong body." Regardless, the condition is only temporary, but I would imagine it provides us with an entirely new appreciation for the relatively fortunate circumstances into which most of us are now being incarnated ... even now, in this little backwoods planet of spiritual misfits, during the Dark Age, or darkest cycle of the four, and darkest hour of humanity's planetary history.

    ~Zag
     
  4. chakraman

    chakraman God save us from religion

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    hi zag, i concur on all but one point, i dont think you can overcome the process by an act of will, although courage and fortitude come in. i feel surrender (not submission) would allow "the dust to be shaken from the carpet" more quickly. and resistance in daily life for me furthers conflict as opposed to understanding which brings freedom, not by the a positive act but by the removal of conflict. this is a good video clip on life and death -
    OnLifeAndDeathH.WMV - Yahoo! Video regards j
     
  5. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Yes, I see what you mean; I just think that both are possible, and necessary, depending on different circumstances.

    If I have the urge to drink, submission is not the way to solve it. If I have a proclivity toward violence, abuse or some kind of devious behavior, likewise. Sure, my lower nature tempts me. For it (the desire elemental), this is right, and proper, and "good," even if it is also what we may call "evil" from a certain limited perspective. But for me to resist the natural behavior of the elemental at death, as in the above examples, will do me - and those around me - much more good than to submit.

    The kind of struggles against the equally-natural sex impulse, on the other hand, lead to the terrible debacle and morass in which the Roman Catholic Church now finds itself. The long centuries of struggling against, and attempting to deny, something that is a right & natural part of our being ... have led to disaster. Submission here means accepting that sex is a creative impulse, which - when properly sublimated - can lead to the higher creativity. Chastity and purity are a virtue, but not when they are practiced rigidly and when a discipline is forced unsympathetically upon the clergy.

    Submission, as well as resistance, both have their place, imo. It's just not always easy (at least for me) to rightly discern which goes where.

    ~Zag
     
  6. MeditationMom

    MeditationMom New Member

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    Submission versus Resistance -

    - is a discussion about things outside of us. Submission "to something or someone", resistance "to something or someone", and refers to our relationship to stimuli in our surroundings. If we compare that to internal experience, as in tension versus relaxation, independent from any outside stimuli, we get closer to the truth of our inherent freedom.

    In my experience, when I am faced with any sort of temptation, I detect very subtle tensions in my body (I call them nano-muscles). If you watch closely during meditation every thought is a tiny tension in the body somewhere, and can be relaxed to return to peace. We tend to indulge in thoughts and tensions and dream of release.

    As I relax the thoughts/nano- muscles, and with that the impulse to act, the temptation is gone. This has proven more helpful to me since my will power didn't quite match many temptations. All I need is the decision to relax in the face of temptation, and to remember to make this decision. I guess at that point you could say an act of will, but not in the form of resistance, is needed. This is the "free will" to chose, which separates our divine nature from our animal nature. This does not exclude "freely chosing" our animal nature, as so many religions might have us believe. If we were to make everything "animal" bad, we would once again be without choice, wouldn't we?

    What I like about this "relaxing the nano-muscles" is that whatever delicious feeling arises from the thoughts of contemplating to give in to a temptation, vanishes into thin air instantly, and there is no struggle at all. This instant freedom feels better than anything. One can also chose to give in to a temptation, after! one has overcome being tempted, though, or it doesn't count as an act of freedom.

    I think this is what is meant by vigilance. It means staying aware, conscious, awake, so we don't fall into our automatic responses to stimuli. After "breaking all the rules to feel free" and discovering the slavery in following every impulse, thought or desire, this is finally the discovery of the freedom that is absolute and eternal, and that nobody can take from us, even if we were in prison.

    Continuous abiding in the present results in such bliss after a while, that no earthly temptation can compare with it. But we have memories of great earthly pleasures and may be wise to stay away from temptation to make it all easier on ourselves. Especilaly after we've been there, done that. Wisdom is less work than will power.

    "Why keep going out into the scorching sun, when we can remain seated under the shady tree?"
     
  7. Francis king

    Francis king New Member

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    I was taught, as a child, that hell wasn't a permanent place, and that it was a place we went to suffer in, until our sins were burnt off us, and eventually, after enduring as many aeons in hell as we needed to become purified, we would then go onto heaven... I know its not very traditional, but there u go... as for hell in an eastern sense, I was of the opinion that this hell was not a real place, but a metaphor for the psychological torment living a bad life brings to the one who is close to death, but maybe thats just me..
     
  8. samabudhi

    samabudhi New Member

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    Yes. If you engage in the non-meritorious, you will reincarnate in a place of pain and loss, in hell.
    If you engage in the meritorious, you will reincarnate in a place of pleasure and gain, in heaven.
    If you don't engage, you will not reincarnate, beyond pleasure and pain, beyond loss and gain.
     
  9. sjr

    sjr New Member

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    MeditationMom,



    I have to confess I loved your post…and am extremely unhappy to not read any more of this insightful wisdom that permeates this whole post, please go into detail what you define as “nano-muscles” . I would also be interested in how to locate them and somatically where they exist.

    I thank you in advance,

    SJR
     
  10. MeditationMom

    MeditationMom New Member

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    Thank you, sjr, for you appreciative thoughts.

    To elaborate on this a little more then - notice that these two posts are related. What Samabudhi is talking about - this engagement - is what I mean by nano-muscles. It is kind of like letting the clutch grab the gears in a stick-shift car, even though the clutch isn't "doing anything" - the gears are. If you spend more time meditating, eventually you will "see", or notice this very subtle mechanism of the mind when it attaches itself to things and thoughts, when it "engages" - be that positively or negatively.

    If in a meditation exercise, the teacher says, relax your legs, your arms, your neck etc, we understand. Then when he tells us to relax our teeth, our bones, or our brain we don't understand right away - until we try that. Then we discover how many layers there are form the outside in. Maybe I should call them my nano-tensions, as if I could feel my bone marrow or my brain movements;

    What I mean by nano-muscles is that I detect this very subtle tension that is created when the mind attaches itself as in "wanting" or "not wanting", something. I do this basically by "scanning" my whole body, when I meditate and thoughts show up, to see where "they live". In the neck, at the roof of my mouth, in my back, in my lungs ...anywhere. Then I relax that, and am back "at peace", in the present, with no resistance.

    If I don't do this with some attention later, in day-to-day life, I find myself with my hands in the cookie jar, turning on the TV, obsessing about one of my children, the messy house...and so on, endlessly, and automatically.

    To give an example relating to Samabudhis's post - if I cleaned the house, I have created good Karma. I feel peaceful, in heaven, in my clean house. If I've been watching TV all day and have a messy house, this messy house "stresses me out" and I am in "hell".

    If I don't "engage", with any "thoughts, tensions" about hell and heaven, good Karma/bad Karma, clean and messy, in other words, if I relax completely - my house (life) will still be messy sometimes, clean and organized other times, but I am free regardless. Not engaged, but present. This "being present" is just something that I practice when I meditate, so that in day-to-day life I have enough presence to respond to things, rather than react to things. "Clean" and "messy" at that point is irrelevant. The whole Universe to me then seems in perfect harmony at all times.

    Somehow then, I respond to a messy house by picking things up, but it is as if "nobody" is doing it. It just gets done, not because I think it should be done, or that it is "my"job", or because I am trying to prevent future "hell". If I don't get to it someone else often does, and it all doesn't matter. The more I create peace within me the more harmony and peace I notice around me.
     
  11. sjr

    sjr New Member

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    Great point MeditationMom but isn’t that returning to the “body” which most traditional eastern religions just won’t come out and say? I have had a meditation and mindfulness practice for decades now and no matter how you cut it your always returning to the body ( this all changes in deeper and prolonged practices, No?)

    Or even better as I once heard from a teacher, “relax yourself around your jaw” or ,”soften your eyes it expands your peripheral vision” which were all truths for me.

    Do you feel that thoughts show up in the body, and by this I mean other than the brain?

    I’ve stated on this website before that I don’t believe in karma, just a theory that keeps the “have not’s” in control of the “haves”.

    To borrow a phrase I’ve read, “the MIND is all stories” . I hope to read more of your insights. Are you just a MeditationMom or is their a tradition which you follow?
     
  12. MeditationMom

    MeditationMom New Member

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    Absolutely! Our normal, non-conscious state is "not with the body". That is why watching the breath is such a useful exercise to get us "with the body". And such a clear demonstration how quickly we fall back into unconscious, blabbering mind.

    Of course any other physical activity, like sex, chewing our food, walking, drinking water, etc, can be used to practice to be present in the body.

    So, being "with the body" and then being "in the body" are the prerequisites to "going beyond it". Unlike the common mistake that we all make in the beginning, of wanting to escape the body.

    Quite possibly. As a matter of fact, there is a lot of research being done now, regarding free will. Brain scans show that we reach for the teacup well before the brain scan registers the thought of any sort of decision to reach for the tea cup.
    It is well possible that the body acts at all times according to the laws of the Universe like anything else, be it a rock, or a raindrop, or any plant and we just live in this illusion that we think and make decisions according to any ideas, opinions, ideologies, morals, religions etc.
    Liberation may be the freedom from the illusion of free will. So, in other words, any movement in the body, even in our cells, is a tension that then gets translated and consciously experienced as a thought of some kind. How about all of our "Unconscious thoughts" :)

    Yes, that is wonderful.


    Why believe in anything? It is best to rely on one's own experience. The idea of Karma is strongly rooted in dualistic thinking - good karma/bad Karma, not that different from heaven/hell, sin/virtue etc and therefore abused to control people's behavior, establish hierarchy etc. But - it is always useful to reflect on what it might have originally meant to convey to the religious seeker of truth. There are always hidden treasures in these ideas, but one needs to be careful indeed. The idea of Karma can create great empathy and reverence for all life, or it can create indifference as in "he is a cripple because he did something bad in a former life".

    That is a good phrase. It is important to remember that by the time there is a story, a whole tree has grown already from the very root of our illusionary "I". This "I" does not exist, at least not as the separate "I" that we think we experience. The closer you look - it just disappears, and you can't defend its existence. Ramana Maharshi ( then Papaji and Gangaji) taught this inquiry of "Who am I" that, if you follow it through gets you to that realization. One of my favorite sayings is Ramana Maharshi's " No-one doubts that he exists, but you may doubt the existence of God. If you find out the truth about yourself and discover your own source, that is all that is required".

    I can't say that I follow any tradition. My path is Motherhood - not an easy one - and it has been helped tremendously by first a Christian upbringing with deep love for Jesus and his simple teachings, then Michio Kushi (Macrobiotics, Zen), Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Sciense), Osho (who explained to me Buddhism, Sufism, Zen, Hasidism, various meditation techniques, but mostly was an incredible inspiration for me to spend endless, endless hours in silence, and "become" silence), Ramana Maharshi (same, silence, silence, silence and his wonderful method of inquiry "Who am I"), and most recently, I am trying to get to know Mohammed and the Quran. I find the statement "There is no God, but God" agreeing with my deepest insights. I join the Dalai Lama in saying my religion is kindness.

    And if I am really bold an honest with you, I would have to say that there is no one here anymore to follow, or not to follow, anything. But that may be an illusion. Maybe I am here and there is nothing to follow, or not to follow. Or both ;)

    I am enjoying your questions and your own descriptions of your experience. Thank you. Do you follow any tradition right now that you have found most helpful?
     

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